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How to protect your business with AML screening

April 15, 2024

6 minutes read

Sanctions and sanctions lists are essential deterrents against financial crime.

In a period when international relations are shifting constantly, they are also becoming a more and more common political instrument.

To prevent severe penalties and harm to their reputation, businesses must defend themselves against entities that have been sanctioned. However, conventional techniques for sanctions screening are frequently laborious and ineffective.

Let’s understand the significance of sanctions, typical problems with sanctions screening, and suggestions for streamlining the sanctions procedure.

What are sanctions lists?

Sanctions lists are lists of individuals and organisations that are covered by broad or specific restriction measures as part of national and international sanctions regimes.

Which individuals and organisations are included in these lists?

Those having ties to criminal activities, terrorism, the spread of nuclear weapons, illicit trade in arms, or drug trafficking.

Ultimately, sanctions can be applied to achieve national security and foreign policy objectives by limiting commerce and blocking assets.

What’s the purpose?

Financial crimes have the potential to erode financial systems’ credibility and stability.

Sanctions are essential –

  •  to stop financial crimes
  •  to make sure that AML rules and regulations are followed

Businesses must regularly stay informed on sanctioned people, groups, and countries to adhere to international law.

Financial transactions cannot be carried out by blocked individuals, and businesses that do so risk severe financial and reputational repercussions, such as asset freezes or travel restrictions.

With the use of AML compliance software, businesses can reduce staff workloads and perform sanction list assessments.

Sanctions can also be applied politically in cases when there are conflicts of interest between nations.

In these situations, nations may impose trade restrictions or other international penalties on the targeted nation. These restrict the residents of the targeted nations and the ability of businesses to collaborate with the rest of the world, which may have profound effects on the economy and society.

For example, the United States of America (US) placed diplomatic sanctions on North Korea in 1950 over its nuclear program, and then in 1979 the US implemented economic and political sanctions, including arms embargoes, against Iran.

As a result of the Russian-Ukrainian War, the US, Canada, Japan, the EU, and other nations placed diplomatic and economic sanctions on Russia in 2022.

Resulting in far-reaching consequences, such as hampered asset access, prohibited access to financial markets, and interrupted corporate operations.

To comply with laws and regulations, companies must remain aware of businesses that have been sanctioned and take appropriate measures.

Businesses must use efficient screening software –

  • To maintain compliance with international laws and regulations 
  • To keep ahead of lists that are always changing.

Ways to Protect Your Business from Money Laundering

  •  Ask, Ask and Ask

There are several questions you should ask when considering a business proposal to be sure it is a real partnership and does not raise red flags for the possibility of money laundering.

First, find out how much money and investors are participating. A warning sign is a vague response.

Second, you should inquire as to why someone might want to invest in your company if they have approached you out of the blue. Do your own research.

Third, enquire about any assets that might have been included in the financials they provided you.

Last, find out if they have ever paid you in cash and why they would wish to.

  • Be aware about Money Laundering Practices

Criminals are always coming up with new strategies. The more information you and your staff communicate, the more probable it is that you will uncover any attempts by your small business to launder money.

One approach to laundering money, for instance, is to deposit illicit funds into your account, convert cash into financial instruments, stack the proceeds through wire transfers, and make profits obtained through illicit activity look reliable by inflating or deflating invoice amounts.

Another common tool for these scams is prepaid credit cards, which you would want to stay away from taking.

It is important to look into the registration status of a prospective partner or client’s business.

How to verify?

Can be verified online by contacting a local government body that maintains records of this information, or the trading standards authority.

This is especially essential when there are foreign parties engaged. Additionally, they might be able to disclose whether or not this business has been the target of complaints.

Exercise caution – look into anyone connected to these financial transactions in great detail.

You didn’t exactly win big when someone you don’t know well offers you a sizable quantity of money, for instance. It can probably be a money laundering scheme.

This can refer to a trade partner, vendor, investor, client, or strategic partner. To find out if any of these individuals have ever been the subject of an investigation or been charged with a crime, you can perform online background checks.

Before consenting to get engaged, make sure you are aware of the identities of all those involved in these transactions and connections.

  • Develop a Formal Anti-Money Laundering Policy

A small business can have a formal policy about its approach to combating money laundering.

The policy may contain guidance on what steps to take or not take. You might choose to incorporate cash handling and accounting procedures in the policy, for instance. It might also specify that you only accept cash for specific types of transactions.

Making decisions about transactions and collaborations with others can be guided by using this as a framework.

It can also aid in educating other team members regarding potential money laundering schemes.

It can also highlight how serious these schemes are. Every business is required to notify the authorities of any suspicious conduct.

  • Ensure confidentiality of your Privacy

For you, your little business is everything.

Preserve it that way by refraining from disclosing any financial information to strangers, especially if they have reached out to you via phone or email.

Additionally, make sure you keep all of your devices secure by changing your passwords regularly and keeping them private. It is also advisable to utilize novel forms of security technologies.

Ensure that everyone on your team is aware of the need to protect those facts’ privacy.

Make us your Partner today to protect your business from AML screening!

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